About 40 percent of Minnesota convicts who are let go from prison on supervised release either run from authorities or commit new crimes, reports the Star Tribune. Since 2005, nearly 11,000 out of 27,000 offenders failed while on supervised release. Those who become fugitives or get arrested tend to be veterans of the state prison system who have committed the most serious crimes, such as assaults, aggravated robbery, sex crimes, DWI and drug offenses. But in Minnesota, that doesn’t matter.
The length of a prisoner’s supervised release, a time when criminals are supposed to adjust to life outside prison under the watchful eyes of corrections officials, is set using the same formula for every offender. Regardless of their likelihood to succeed, most offenders spend two-thirds of their sentence behind bars and one-third in the community. Minnesota’s supervised-release rules are getting a second look. In 2009, state lawmakers asked the Department of Corrections to assess some of its supervised-release practices and make recommendations in a report due in January. The Legislature’s directive comes at a time when national studies and experts say that some low-risk offenders should get less supervision so corrections officials can spend more resources on frequent offenders who are considered most dangerous.